Want to know what to plant in our area to combat water restrictions? Copy Mother Nature's extreme examples on Stone Mountain.
Myriad depressions are filled with soil harboring a vibrant plant world. There, plants thrive in, sometimes, less than one inch of soil. And they're atop stone with only rain for quenching their thirst. These plants are answers to your driest landscape areas.
One of the plants is the yellow daisy. It's blooming now and blankets the sunny areas of Stone Mountain. The Rev. Thomas Porter discovered the yellow daisy in 1846. Oddly, the yellow daisy grows only in a 60-mile radius of Stone Mountain. This is our daisy. You should make it your daisy. It's not easy to find the seeds. Use the Latin name, Helianthus porteri, for your seed search.
Blazing star, or liatris, is often seen in FTD floral arrangements. Its spikey purple bloom is a great complement to lilies, roses and baby's breath. This is not a sissy flower nor solely for florists. Planted in the sun it is a long-lived perennial. Give your landscape a touch of its elegance, it thrives at Stone Mountain.
Yuccas bask in the dry open areas of Stone Mountain. Their spine tipped foliage was used by the Indians for basket weaving. Used as an accent plant with other shrubs in your landscape they are a focal point. Their ivory bell-shaped blossoms shoot up each July through August. Put into a fabulous urn, their focal point intensity increases. Yes, I'm a bit zealous here. The facts are true, but there are better choices for a fabulous urn.
Redolent of the desert you'll see plenty of prickly pear cacti at Stone Mountain. Their fuchsia pink blossoms stun any landscape late in the summer.
The evergreen vine, Carolina jessamine, blooms yellow late each winter on the mountain. Its foliage twines through other plants to reach sunlight. Loblolly pines are one of the trees Carolina jessamine uses for support at Stone Mountain. Their taproot prefers to grow deep and will take advantage of cracks in the stone. Growing fast, the loblolly pine might be a good choice if you won't be living in your house a long time.
There is also an oak tree thriving on Stone Mountain. It, like the yellow daisy, is native to the mountain, the Georgia oak. Don't expect the Georgia oak to grow large. Eastern red cedar thrives at Stone Mountain and is easier to find in cultivation than the Georgia oak.
Let the plants on Stone Mountain help you design your drought-tolerant landscape. If it's beautiful and tough on Stone Mountain it will be the same in your landscape.
Stone Mountain resident Tara Dillard designs, installs and writes about gardens. Her most recent books include "Garden Paths and Stepping Stones" and "Perennials for Georgia." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.agardenview.biz.